A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Misses opportunity to teach kids that every action has a consequence: Carlitos sneaks out of his home but doesn't get in trouble. Limited Spanish -- more could have added extra value.
Strong messages about family and true meaning of home -- families can be different, home is where you are loved, families count on each other -- but misses the mark when Carlitos goes off on his own and doesn't tell his mom or abuela.
Positive Role Models
Beautiful representations of culture and people of Puerto Rico -- minimal Spanish. Carlitos' rash act is not one to follow.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Across the Bay is a story based on author-illustrator Carlos Aponte's childhood in Puerto Rico. This colorful picture book transports readers into the heart of Puerto Rico as young Carlitos goes off on a voyage to find the father he yearns to meet. Even though Carlitos is happy with his family, a desire for more pushes him to sneak out of his home and take a ferry to San Juan all by himself to find his father. Vibrant illustrations in a tropical palette draw readers in as Carlitos makes his way across the bay and then wanders through the streets of Old San Juan searching high and low for Papi. Eventually, Carlitos realizes that he already has everything he needs with his mother and his abuela, and he returns home without finding his father. It's a joyous but unresolved ending. Parents might be concerned that the story presents no consequences or reprimand from Carlitos' family for his rash and potentially dangerous decision to sneak out of his home and travel to the capital city alone.
Is It Any Good?
This is an enchanting picture book set in Old San Juan. Carlos Aponte's vibrant illustrations bring the color and personality of Puerto Rico to life but may leave you longing to hear more Spanish. The occasional "buenos dias" and a short verse from a popular Puerto Rican song are about all that's included. Still, Across the Bay beautifully captures some of the unique culture and colorfulness of the ancient city of Old San Juan. Each page also displays a varied spectrum of brown skin shades that may prompt young readers to appreciate differences and find beauty within their own uniqueness. It's a story that can also speak to kids whose families don't look like everyone else's.
Carlitos' decision to take off on his own may be concerning but could also present a great opportunity to talk with kids about possible dangers, including reasons why they shouldn't talk to strangers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Our Editors Recommend
Books with Latino Characters
Bilingual Books (English/Spanish)
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